Ed Wood film is getting an opera adaptation

Writer/director/producer/editor Ed Wood’s 1957 film Plan 9 from Outer Space has long been considered to be one of the worst movies ever made, if not the worst of the worst… although most genre fans have seen a lot worse than that one . (And if all of you’ve seen of Plan 9 is what was glimpsed in Tim Burton’s 1994 film Ed Wood, you should check it out at THIS LINK.) Composer and B-movie fanatic Somtow Sucharitkul is clearly a fan of the film, as The Hollywood Reporter has broken the news that he is giving Plan 9 from Outer Space an opera adaptation!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Plan 9 from Outer Space: A Really Grand Opera by Somtow Sucharitkul is “currently in the libretto stage. Rehearsals will begin in earnest next year. Sucharitkul plans to release a teaser suite from the opera next fall and to premiere the full opera in 2024. Torsten Neumann, director of the Oldenburg Film Festival, Germany’s leading indie film fest, is producing.”

Sucharitkul had this to say about his opera plans: “Plan 9 is, of course, celebrated as the worst picture ever made and a cultural icon. Movie buffs have memorized all the lines. I intend to compose the score in the spirit of Ed Wood — with utter seriousness and high moral intent, as befits the exalted subject matter about aliens saving humanity from itself — so timely in these, ah, times.”

Neumann added: “Of course, we’re not intending to produce the ‘worst opera’ in history. Quite the opposite. The true spirit of Plan 9 comes from the utter sincerity of Ed Wood’s vision and the fact that no amount of ineptitude, or lack of money, or mishaps like the star dropping dead before shooting began [which happened to planned Plan 9 star Bela Lugosi] could dampen his optimism and faith. In a way it’s a metaphor for all filmmakers and their many-sided visions.”

The Hollywood Reporter points out that Sucharitkul’s previous musical works include Requiem: In Memoriam 9/11, which was commissioned by the government of Thailand as a gift for the victims of 9/11; Helena Citronová, an opera about a Holocaust survivor that was composed for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz; The Silent Prince, a “Bollywood opera” on the past lives of the Buddha. He also wrote the 1974 horror novel Vampire Junction and scripted the films Burial of the Rats and Amphibious Creature of the Deep, wrote and directed the 1989 horror movie The Laughing Dead, and wrote and starred in The Maestro: A Symphony of Terror, which he described as “Mr. Holland’s Opus meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.

The writer/director/composer/actor says, “I have composed epic operas, written trilogies (often accidentally spilling into more than three volumes) and a novel that made the Horror Writer’s Association’s “All-time top forty” list… but I honestly say that an operational adaptation of Plan 9 will be the summation of my life’s work. I won’t use a single word in the libretto that wasn’t straight from the pen of Ed Wood. Whether the Bela Lugosi character will manage a plaintive, tragic aria, when he was silent (not to mention dead) during the entire production of the film… that will be a nice little Easter egg to come.”

In case you don’t recall what Plan 9 from Outer Space was about, here’s the synopsis: Residents of California’s San Fernando Valley are under attack by flying saucers from outer space. The aliens, led by Eros (Dudley Manlove) and his assistant, Tanna (Joanna Lee), intend to conquer the planet by resurrecting corpses in a Hollywood cemetery. The living dead — a cape-wearing ghoul (Bela Lugosi), a vampire (Vampira) and a slow-footed cop (Tor Johnson) who was killed for his nosiness — stalk curious humans who wander into the cemetery looking for evidence of the UFOs .

An opera adaptation of Plan 9 from Outer Space is definitely going to be something special. Let us know what you think of the idea by leaving a comment below.

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